The Spice of Life
Thirty-four players competed in ten preliminary games with
a mean duration of 6.4 game turns in 3.7 hours and 6.67 game
turns, similar to 2002. Half ended in two-player alliance wins
(one by Guild default victory). The other games comprised three
3-player alliance wins, one BG prediction win, and one stalemate.
year, House Harkonnen and House Atreides led the list with six
and five wins respectively. The Guild (very surprisingly to some!)
came in next with four wins. The Emperor and BG, unlike last
year, took a beating and recorded only two wins apiece. The Fremen
held their perennial position as most difficult faction to play
well, getting only one win.
The tournament was run essentially the same as last year except
for the elimination of negative qualification points and a change
in the rules for the Shield Wall entering as a 6th stronghold.
I again awarded my Best Faction plaques to the players who
gave the best single-game performance with each faction during
the preliminary heats, measured in terms of strongholds controlled
per turn. Carl Walling received Best Atreides; Matt Fagan, Best
Bene Gesserit; Phil Barcafer, Best Emperor; Jean-Francois Gagne,
Best Fremen; Rob Barnes, Best Guild (second time!); and Joe Abrams,
In the final game, Joe Abrams took the Atreides; Chris Bodkin,
the BG; Joe Harrison, the Emperor; Jean-Francois Gagne, the Fremen;
Glenn McMaster, the Guild; and Bill Dyer, the Harkonnen.
In turn 3 of the final, the Atreides jumped at the opportunity
for a surprise solo win, foiled only by a major counterattack
by the Emperor.
Turn 4 saw the Atreides ally with his nemesis the Emperor,
and they wasted no time trying again for the win, but the other
powers brought everything they had to bear, including a key traitor
call by the Guild against the Emperor. It looked as if the Atreides
would be gutted by the Harkonnen in two battles, until the two
Great Houses were able to forge an agreement to share the strongholds
and form a new alliance in turn 5.
In turn 8, House Harkonnen positioned his alliance for an
opportunity to win by taking both Carthag and Arrakeen from the
BG with a rare one-two traitor call. Turn 9 would be the last
turn of the game due to a scheduled time limit, and all three
2-way alliances had a chance to win. Battle was furious, but
in the end, each faction except the BG held exactly one stronghold,
Tabr was destroyed by a lasegun/shield explosion. The six great
powers had fought themselves to a stalemate.